Monday, March 28, 2016

Virunga: an unknown story

I had meant to watch this documentary for a while but only got round to it a few days ago. I sat down, prepared for a sad story but not prepared for what I saw.

The movie Virunga was very eye-opening on an issue that I had never heard before and I am sure many others have not either. I do not remember it being plastered all over the news as it was happening.

The Virunga National Park is in eastern Congo and is home to beautiful creatures and exceptional nature. It is also home to the only mountain gorillas in the world and provides the community with economic income from tourists and fishes from the lake. Rangers fight to protect it every day and this is their story.
Amongst a civil war and an oil company, SOCO International, wanting to dig for oil inside the park, the rangers struggle to make their voices heard. The Virunga park is an UNESCO natural heritage site. Let me repeat this. AN UNESCO HERITAGE SITE. How is even the mere thought of digging for oil in the park being considered. How does greed take over politics. How does greed over rule the law.

Let me just say: there are only 800 mountain gorillas left in the world. What is it going to take for the world to realise that nature is a heritage and a beautiful treasure that will carry on forever while oil is not.

Frustration, sadness and anger were all felt while watching this movie but also hope when hearing the rangers talk with passion about their park and gorillas. I could not recommend it enough!

Here is the movie's website if you want to learn more: http://virungamovie.com/

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

DIY Dry Shampoo

Recently I finished my bottle of store-bought dry shampoo. It was a common dry shampoo, in a typical aerosol can, bought from a popular beauty store.

Instead of buying a new one, I decided to make my own.

Inspired by other eco bloggers such as Trash is for tossers, Ela Gale and my friend Anne I decided to take the leap and give making my own products a go.


Because there are so many unnecessary chemicals in conventional dry shampoos, half of which I can't even pronounce.

Because making my own allows me to really see what ingredients I am putting on my body.

Because natural ingredients are better for the body, earth and mind.

Combining two natural, simple ingredients that I found in my kitchen I made a dry shampoo that not only works great but smells amazing too!

The winning combo: cornflour + cocoa powder.

Cornflour absorbs any excess oils from the hair, it does not stop the natural production of oil that the scalp needs to stay healthy, unlike many store bought dry shampoos which do. I used cocoa powder just to give it a darker colour since my hair is brown.

I combined about two tablespoons cornflour and one tablespoon cocoa powder into a reusable glass jar and I apply it on my hair with a paintbrush. The brush is a bit small but it is the only one I have right now, using a powder brush or any make up brush would work too. My ingredients are not organic as those are the ones I currently have in my pantry and will finish them before switching to organic!

Little fun story: One day I applied some of my home made dry shampoo and then went to play badminton. As my hair swished in my ponytail I could smell chocolate, and realised it was me!

Easy, cheap, natural, and leaves me smelling like cake. I definitely recommend giving it a try!


Friday, March 4, 2016

What makes a good gift?

What makes a good gift? A question I have been pondering on during the past few months filled with birthdays-Christmas-Valentine’s day-anniversaries-more birthdays. I like to give meaningful gifts as those are the presents I like to receive the most. Something that will be useful, something that will bring happiness, curiosity, knowledge.

Consumerism has also been on my mind lately, especially during these gift-filled months. Do things really make us happy? Do gifts bring us happiness in those 5 seconds – 10 minutes- 1 hour after we open them, but never replenish that happiness in the following months? Are we obsessed with owning things, and more things, expensive things, pretty things, because they ultimately bring us happiness?

I believe that every appreciated gift brings us joy. But not all make it last, to the point where we forget about it and another gift comes along.

Minimalism encourages giving experiences as gifts – and I like that idea. An experience stays with us forever and there is no waste involved. A little holiday, a relaxing de stressing spa, a wine tasting session, entrance to an art museum, a musical, a concert. No tangible object. A great more emotions.

Meaningful experiences. But can objects be good gifts too? I believe they can.

Lately I have been given a good gift. A great gift. Through this gift I know the person cares for me. Through this gift I know they know me. It is a small gift. But does this matter? No. It is a gift that embodies who I am and will help me grow as a person. It is eight pencils made of recycled paper.  They were given to me along with a special diary in which I can write my successes, so when there is a failure it is there for me to flip through, to bring back positivity.  Those recycled pencils are little but bring me lots of joy.

So what is a good gift? For me it is a gift that can be an experience, a gift that shows the giver cares for me, a gift that will help me grow, a gift that is useful.

What do you think makes a good gift? Let me know!